‘Life has this dilemma, which hooks us onto it.
Is it a rosebush full of thorns or
A thornbush full of roses?
Whatever is the answer that life may hold,
Though fingers flinch at bleeding,
I still reach to the rose.’
I was 19 when I first met him. Young and optimistic about life. I guess you could call me naive and stupid, but I would still prefer to think of myself as hopeful. He was 20; tall, fair and handsome. The kind you dream your first love will be like. He was superbly charming; so smooth with his words, that he could melt your insides like butter. I fell for him the very instant I met him. We hit it off- blissful days followed the rosy beginnings of love. We met every day after college, talked for hours and hours on the phone. If I wasn’t with him or talking to him, I was thinking about him. I started to believe that ‘he was the one for me’ and blushed at the very thought of him.
And then reality burst our bubble.
My parents found out about us. They interrogated me as if I had committed a sin. In their eyes, I had committed the cardinal sin of falling in love. They grilled me for days until I finally gave in and gave them his number. He was kind enough to talk to my father politely, even while my father was screaming at him over the phone.
The next day, he came home to meet my parents. I was confident he would win them over like he had me. As expected they grilled him, asked questions about his qualifications, his family, his plans for the future, every damn thing under the sun and then concluded that he was not good enough for me. I was furious, I didn’t care about any of those things! I only cared about him, I loved him and they didn’t understand that. They didn’t care about my preference and were adamant that I would marry a guy they chose for me. ‘I can do that for myself!’ and stormed into my room crying.
My mom said that there is more to life and love than just looks and height. I was in no mood to pay heed to her advice.
All I knew was that I was not talking to them.
Mr A and I continued to meet hi against my parents' wishes. We had completed three months together. But slowly I started to notice the changes in him. He wasn’t as polite in his speech as before and always taunted my parents. At first, I thought (because I was in love with him) that my parents were really crazy to deny him. But soon the taunts became abuses and insults, not just personally but publicly as well. He had met my friends, and for some reason, my friends didn’t approve of him- so he used bad mouth them also. I stopped meeting them because he didn’t like them, I stopped (almost) talking to my parents because he didn’t like them. Since he was my first love, I didn’t want to do or say anything that hurt him, at the same time I became blind to the emotions of my parents and friends who were with me all these years. I was ready to let go of their love for me but not him.
Soon, to my dismay Mr A started to abuse me, almost treating me like a worm because that’s what he used to call me. He started to compare me to the pretty looking ladies at his workplace and I felt like shit. Shit is what I was reduced to in 8 months time of knowing him. He used to beat me black and blue. It isn’t because I didn’t have the guts to speak up but because for me the love was true, so I hoped against hope that one day it’ll all be fine.
One day when he slapped me in front of his friend I was more heartbroken than ever. As long as the abuse was between us, I could tolerate it but when this had happened, I knew it would be worse from now on. That day I walked out of the relationship, never to turn back.
I was emotionally shaken and with absolutely no confidence in myself. I hid in my room for a week.
I wouldn’t even look into the mirror because I feared my own reflection. My mom and brother forced me to open the door and I shared everything with them. A half an hour talk with them reinforced the lost hope in me, and also my ‘self-worth’- something I had forgotten to keep along the way. They valued me more than I valued myself, and once again I picked up the pieces of my life.
Three years after Mr A, I met another man. I call him Mr B. I met him in church. The minute we realized we had feelings for each other, I asked him to come and meet my dad. Interestingly, my dad fell in love with him first, and then I followed. In four months’ time, we were married. Life was beautiful but the horrors of my past never left me. I never let my husband take complete control of me. We fought every week. I was sure he would leave me and go away. My heart wouldn’t let me love again in spite of being married. But he didn’t go, he chose to stay with me, and each day I realized that love is truly pure when it happens with the right person. He doesn’t rule over me but accepts me exactly as I am. He lets me plant my own garden, the way I like it. I’m no longer scared by my past horrors but strong enough to not let them happen again.
Physical and emotional abuse shatters a person beyond imagination. One in every four women falls prey to it. Love doesn’t abuse, and if it does… it ’s not love. Walk out if you are in such a relationship. Trust me, you will never regret it.
You might hear many horror stories about the worst kind of abuse, and count your boyfriend/husband as a blessing in comparison. There is no such thing as “normal abuse”. It doesn’t matter if the abuse is mild. Just because you’re capable of handling more abuse, it doesn’t mean you must handle little. Leave. You deserve so much more.